Letters of Hartley Coleridge

By Grace Griggs Evelyn; Earl Griggs Leslie et al. | Go to book overview

LETTER 41 TO MRS. SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, Downshire Place, Hampstead, London.

[Postmark Leeds, November 19, 1832.]

My dearest Mother and Sister

This comes to assure you that I am not dead either of Cholera or, what is more likely, of hard work. I know very well that I ought to have answer'd your letter immediately, and Hal's long before now, but some how or other, I have not. Better late than never. The truth is, that I have so much writing, and am so hurried, that I like to let the pen alone whenever I can, and besides, to tell the truth, I have not escaped an epidemic cold which has been gangin amang folk--but I am quite better now. I mean quite well. Could I, however, have conceived that I could have afforded my dear Sara a moment's ease, or in anywise calm'd her disordered nerves, I would have written whatever it had cost me, and I have been intending to write daily and hourly. I do rejoice that she has at least got the worst over, but it is a sad thing she should have such Frickerish nerves. I know not whether those, or my father's disordered stomach is worse; though I can certainly say rather more of nervous than of dyspeptic disorder, for my own nerves from seventeen till after twenty were dreadfully weak, in fact I was a martyr to the Blue Devils in my youth, and there sprung the root of my misdoings. God has been exceedingly merciful to me; and my fellow creatures exceedingly kind, or my condition had been far worse than it is. I am now, I may say, content with the present, as knowing my state to be far better than I deserve, and not without hope for the future. Literary employment agrees both with my mind and body, and I am happily free from that morbid anxiety about fame, which torments men far wiser than I. If I get praise, it is well--it helps to sell a book, and as long as my scribble sells, I shall not want an employer or sufficient remuneration. If I be abused through thick and thin, I owe no forbearance to the abuser, and shall find an opportunity of repaying him with interest. If nothing at all be said, but that would be provoking. We have just finish'd the second part of the 'Worthies' containing the Lives of Lady Anne Clifford, Roger Ascham, Bishop Fisher, Mason, and Sir Richard Arkwright, (the last composed chiefly of extracts from Darwin,

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